New warm transfer initiative making it easier for vulnerable consumers to seek help
A new pilot program is aiming to make it easier for vulnerable consumers to complain to Ombudsman services. Launching this month is the “Partnership Transfer Project”, a joint initiative of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria.
The two Ombudsman services are working together so the consumer only has to tell their story once. When a consumer is seeking assistance because they are in financial hardship, for example, they may need help to arrange payment plans for both their energy and water bills and their telco bills. The Partnership Transfer Project will mean an easy transfer of the consumer from one Ombudsman service to the other.
Speaking about the pilot program, the TIO’s Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer Leanne Hutton says the ‘no wrong door’ approach will add immediate benefit to those who need it most.
The “Partnership Transfer Program” will make it a little bit easier for the consumer or small business who is experiencing challenging circumstances. Our goal is to connect the person on the phone with the Ombudsman services they need, no matter where their complaint journey begins. This means putting the person front and centre of all we do.”
Ombudsman Judi Jones agrees.
“A person’s work or life circumstances can change very quickly and asking for help to get through a difficult time is not easy for most people. Being a victim of domestic violence, surviving a natural disaster, losing a job, or experiencing the death of a loved one can have sudden and extreme consequences on financial independence and personal safety.
“Remaining connected to phone and internet services is essential for a person applying for a job and accessing social services. This program is removing barriers to complaining and ensuring better support for people when they are most vulnerable.”